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It is amusing how we hackers, who are supposed to embrace change, become as Luddite as anyone else when our sacred tools are questioned. Personally I see room for this and a whole lot more. I'd like to see an amalgam of this and the traditional terminal (easy way to pull up a traditional terminal if you need it). There is no need to "replace"; I think this makes a fine addition to a hackers workspace.



Thing is, it's not about the tools being sacred. My problem with this is that he's not just solving problems I don't have -- he's solving them in a way that would make my problems worse!

For instance, I very rarely want more informations about the files from an "ls" command; and if I did, I'd probably use Finder instead. On the other hand, not having enough terminal real estate to display the entire directory at once is a very frequent problem. From that perspective, adding icons is a step in the wrong direction.

Thinking about it, if I were playing with making a better terminal, one of my first lines of thought would be things that made it quick and easy to break information out into other windows, because scrolling back and forth in the terminal's buffer is a PITA.

Of course, this new terminal might be exactly what the author needs, and more power to him if it is. There's no need for us all to use the same tools. (Thanks heavens -- I want nothing to do with Emacs or vi!)


"if I did, I'd probably use Finder instead."

The thing that strikes me as very, very cool about this project is that you might not need the Finder at all any more.


See, here's the thing: I like Finder. It's not perfect, but sometimes it is very handy. Even if TermKit ends up implementing the complete functionality of Finder, I'm not sure why I'd particularly like to have that functionality in my terminal window. And if it's only implementing the one Finder view I virtually never use? Forget about it.

You know what would rock my world? A "lsf" command that emulated "ls" as much as possible, but launched a Finder window appropriately sized to display the results.


I've always thought Raskin's ZUI held some promise as an alternative UI paradigm. I'm pretty much a quicksilver addict now and use that to kind of combine the command line and GUI desktop worlds a little bit more at least.


That's what I aim for termkit ls to be. The current ls is a toy meant to show off the potential.

As for why? Because it will be optimized for keyboard interaction and rapid context switching.


Regarding the too-small windows for ls output option I would love if his ls could display it's output full-screen temporarily rather than needing to make the terminal full-screen first and then running ls


Bloomberg found the same thing when they tried to redesign their terminals for traders - existing users were so invested in their knowledge of the "incantations" of the old interface that they were hugely resistant to a UI with a more modern learning curve and interaction.

It's very hard to make a product that essentially devalues things that your customers spent a lot of time learning. You're probably better off ignoring people who already happy with their shell experience, and going after people who have not yet invested in learning all that crap.

And yes, it's crap. And I say that not because I don't know it myself, but because in the end, much of it is not essential to the actual job we're trying to get done, it's the tools we use. And the tools are not the job.


The thing about changes involving a "more modern learning curve and interaction" is that it's replacing something that already worked and users knew how to use.

I'm quite bad for upgrading for upgrading's sake but I can understand why, of all people, traders at Bloomberg didn't want any kind of learning curve on their terminals.

Yes, it's clearly better but users don't always want to change to something that does what they already do in a more modern way.


That doesn't mean you have to stop innovating. It just means that your customers might not be the people who are already using what you want to replace.


I think that's absolutely right.


It is amusing how we hackers, who are supposed to embrace change, become as Luddite as anyone else when our sacred tools are questioned.

In my experience, programmers as a whole are actually more luddite and irrationally reactionary than the general populace.


Really? I see the same thing whenever you get a bunch of professionals together and start arguing about their tools.

Doctors and different drugs/treatments, Contractors and brands of power tools.

Programmers do seem to make the biggest deal about "all the fighting", everyone else seems to just accept that professionals are opinionated and arguing is how progress is made. But I'm on the inside with the programming stuff and on the outside looking in for the rest of these fields so maybe that's not true.


Doctors and different drugs/treatments, Contractors and brands of power tools.

From what I've seen, smart Doctors and Contractors eventually get to discussing empirical data and costs. Far too often, I've seen programmers just make up crap and state it emphatically.


Thanks for bringing up this great point.

I actually built in anonymous usage logging into TermKit using Google Analytics over SSL. It logs the types of commands you execute (no data). It's my plan to release this data back to the community regularly. I don't think anyone has done a large-scale survey of command-line unix usage before. Should be interesting.

Edit: and you can easily turn it off if you wish.


Very good point. Do doctors and contractors have more sources of empirical data (or more widely known sources), or are they simply more willing to look for them? Does anyone here know of a good general resource for empirical data regarding the tools we are constantly debating?


Do doctors and contractors have more sources of empirical data (or more widely known sources), or are they simply more willing to look for them?

I think the culture would be a vital part of an ecosystem of empirical observation. For the sciences generally, the culture predated the sources and gave rise to them. For medicine, I think a culture of empiricism was imported from other scientific fields. For contractors, they are very motivated to note what works, what breaks, and what enables them to make more money.


... like you just did.


Yeah, just look at the Rails/CoffeeScript thing recently.




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